Flies, Mosquitoes and Gnats

Order: Diptera

A large order, with 112 families and just under 9,000 species found in Australia. All have a single pair of membranous forewings, the hindwings are reduced to small ‘club-like’ appendages called halteres, which act as stabilising appendages. All also have compound eyes and most have sucking mouthparts of various designs, but the mouthparts can also be piercing (e.g mosquitoes). The adult female of most mosquito species are well-known for sucking the blood of animals (including humans) to obtain the proteins required for egg production and, in doing so have become a major vector of diseases. The males typically feed on nectar. Other fly families also require blood for this purpose, including the tabanid flies and biting midges.

Australian Bush Fly

Australian Bush Fly

What does it look like? The Australian Bush Fly is ashy-grey with 2 diverging black stripes on the thorax, becoming 4 near the head, and red eyes. The 2 rounded, triangular, transparent wings touch or overlap slightly when at rest. Abdomen yellowish and eyes touching in male, abdomen grey and black and eyes separated in female. Where does it live? Endemic to Australia, where it is widespread...
Banana-stalk Fly

Banana-stalk Fly

What does it look like?  The Banana-stalk Fly is dark brown and yellowish-cream, with large red eyes on elongated head, and moderately long, thickened antennae with single long thin arista arising from each (used to detect heat and moisture). Legs long and stilt-like, and wings darkened, long and membranous. Where does it live? Occurs along coastal eastern Australia, from northern Qld south ...
Flesh Fly

Flesh Fly

What does it look like? There are numerous species of Flesh Fly with similar appearance. Typically grey to yellowish thorax and head, bluish grey abdomen and often with bright red eyes. Top of the thorax is often marked with three longitudinal dark stripes and abdomen chequered. Forewings membranous with darker veins and hindwings reduced to stabilising halteres. Numerous long black bristles at...
Fruit Fly

Fruit Fly

What does it look like? The Fruit Fly is typically yellowish- or reddish-brown to black with sparse blackish bristles and membranous forewings. Eyes red and antennae very short with enlarged tips. Where does it live? Around 1500 species distributed in tropical and temperate regions worldwide. What are its habitats and habits? The Fruit Fly, or Vinegar Fly, is found in wide range of habi...
House Fly

House Fly

What does it look like?  The House Fly thorax and abdomen is greyish (although the abdomen is paler), with four blackish longitudinal lines on the thorax, and a single pair of transparent triangular wings. The eyes are reddish and the mouthparts are sponge-like. Where does it live? Found throughout most of Australia and the rest of the world. What are its habitats and habits? ...
March Fly

March Fly

What does it look like? The March Fly is solidly built with large reflective, iridescent eyes, which meet in the middle in males. The eyes are larger than those of the Stable Fly, and are green in the female and reddish-brown in the male. Where does it live? Warmer parts of Australia, including Qld, NSW, Vic, WA and NT. What are its habitats and habits? The March...
Non-biting Midges

Non-biting Midges

What does it look like?  Non-biting Midges are members of large family superficially similar, typified by thin body and long thin legs. Wings membranous. Where does it live? Widely distributed throughout Australia and most of the world. What are its habitats and habits? Non-biting Midges are found in and around water, including rivers, still lakes, dams, ponds ...
Oriental Latrine Fly

Oriental Latrine Fly

What does it look like? The Oriental Latrine Fly has a metallic blue-green body and large red eyes that meet in the male, but are separated in the female, and sponge-like mouthparts. A single pair of large, transparent wings, the second pair have been modified into stabilising appendages called halteres. Where does it live? Throughout Australasia, and most of the world. Within Australia, has...
Robber Fly

Robber Fly

What does it look like? The Robber Fly is large, grey and brown, with reddish legs and greyish-brown wings not extending beyond tip of abdomen. Where does it live? Occurs in eastern Australia, from north-eastern Qld to eastern Vic. What are its habitats and habits? The Robber Fly occurs in forests, woodlands and gardens, where its buzzing flight often betrays its presence. At rest it p...
Striped Mosquito

Striped Mosquito

What does it look like? The Striped Mosquito appears dark greyish with conspicuous white to yellowish lyre-shaped lines on the dorsal shield (scutum). Legs with pale bands, and proboscis with distinct white central band. Where does it live? Throughout coastal and inland mainland Australia,including Tas. Female Striped Mosquito engorged with blood What are its habitats and...
Yellow-shouldered Stout Hoverfly

Yellow-shouldered Stout Hoverfly

What does it look like?  The Yellow-shouldered Stout Hoverfly, or Common Hoverfly, has a yellow body, with black, crescent-shaped barring on the upper surface of the abdomen, forming large yellow spots, and black on the upper thorax. Eyes very large and compound, larger and close to touching in males, and antennae yellow. Wings transparent, with false margin on the rear edge. Where does it ...